Sliming Congressman Ryan


Sliming Congressman Ryan

CREATED Aug 22, 2011

I realize that when you become a national leader like Paul Ryan, you have to be prepared for some cheap shots.  Still, you would hope that the Left and their allies in the media could do better than this.

Last week Reid Epstein, a former Journal Sentinel reporter , wrote a breathless piece for Politico. 

The "point" of the article was that this year Ryan wasn't holding Town Hall meetings during the August Congressional recess but rather would "speak only for residents willing to open their wallets".  In my favorite part of the story, Epstein opines: "By outsourcing the events to third parties that charge an entry fee to raise money, members of Congress can eliminate most of the riffraff while still - in some cases - allowing reporters and tv cameras for a positive local news story."

Rob Zerban, the Democrat who is spending the next year of his life preparing to get beat like a drum by Ryan in November 2012,  says " ... Charging for access is wrong - the people have a right to their Representatives . ..."

So, what is this shady third-party group that Ryan will be speaking to?

The Whitnall Park Rotary Club!  That's right, the Whitnall Park Rotary Club.

Here's what the Club says about the event.

The Rotary Club meets for lunch every week.  They often invite speakers who hold public office to address the group.  Congressman Ryan was originally scheduled to speak before the group on July 6th but this date had to be rescheduled since Congress was in session on that day.  The new date is September 6th.

That's right - all this "controversy" because Ryan is speaking to a Rotary Club in his Congressional District.  Stop the presses.  This must be Watergate Redux!

So what about the cost to attend? 

Here's what the Rotary says about that: " The meeting is open to the public.  However because it is our regular weekly meeting, the caterer must know the number of attendees for whom to prepare the lunch.  The fee of $15 is intended to cover the cost of the meal and the costs incurred by the club in making the meeting open to the public.  It is not in any sense a fundraising event. ... The Ryan office had absolutely nothing to do with setting a fee."

In other words, the Rotary Club charges attendees for the cost of their lunches.  In this case, the cost is $15. What a scandal!

I understand that in the Age of Obama, some people really do believe that there is a free lunch.  Given the widespread abuse of the Food Stamps program in this country, I can understand why many feel that way.   Still, I hope we haven't gotten to the point where a local service organization can't cover the costs of providing food without creating a controversy.

Of course, this story was never about a true controversy.  It was all about trying to smear a rising national conservative political figure - nothing more, nothing less.